It would behoove the Eagles to get off to a fast start Monday night when they host the Giants at the Linc.
In their first five games, the Eagles have scored just three points in the first quarter and only 37 in the first half. That first-quarter total is tied for the lowest in the league. Their first-half total is 27th.
"It still just comes back to staying on the field on third down,'' offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said Wednesday.
"You can see when we get a lot of plays – and we had close to 90 plays the other night – the ball gets spread around. Nobody's asking why this guy didn't touch the ball or that guy didn't touch the ball. You're getting a lot of completions and you're getting yards rushing. We just have to stay on the field.''
The biggest challenge for the Eagles on defense Monday will be getting off the field on third down. They are tied for 26th in third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert 42.1 percent of their third-down opportunities.
In the last two games, their opponents converted 17 of 33 third-down tries, including 12 of 23 third downs of five yards or more.
"The last two weeks, our third down (defense) has been terrible,'' defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. "It's a combination of things. If it was one thing, you would change it. But we've looked at it hard. Sometimes it's technique. Sometimes we could've been in different coverage. Sometimes the pass rush wasn't there.
"It's different breakdowns. We're going to put a heavy emphasis on it this week, and we'll get it right. I'll put more reps on it in this week's practices just because one week it happens, but two weeks in a row, you have to throw some extra reps and time into it and we will.''
--Shurmur was asked about Sam Bradford's two red-zone interceptions in Sunday's win over the Saints. "On the first one, we were running a flag route,'' Shurmur said. "If Sam could have it over, he would've put a little bit more air on it. On the second one, the defender just made a good play. Sam tried to fit the ball into Miles (Austin), and the defender made a really good play. Two plays you'd like to have back. The good part is we fought back from that and Sam played his best game.''
--Running back Darren Sproles hasn't been much of a factor in the passing game lately. After catching seven passes for 76 yards in the Eagles' Week 1 loss to Atlanta, he has just nine receptions for 52 yards in the last four games. Shurmur said defenses aren't doing anything in particular to take him away. "It's just been circumstances,'' he said. "We used all three running backs at a pretty good clip the other night. There's times we put him out in the slot.
--Davis said he expects Giants wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle to play Monday night. Both injured their hamstrings Sunday night against San Francisco.
--The Eagles will face another short-drop, get-the-ball-out-quick quarterback this week when they face the Giants' Eli Manning. Manning has been sacked only four times this season. "You know where he's ranked in the NFL in getting the ball out of his hands?'' Davis said. "Third. So once again, a high-efficiency, quick-ball-out-of the-quarterback's-hand offense.''
--Davis said linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who has missed two of the last three games with a hamstring injury, wasn't expected to practice Wednesday. He didn't know whether he would be able to play Monday night. My own guess is they keep him out until after the Week 8 bye and give the hamstring a chance to heal completely.